Before yesterday, if you had asked anybody with an ear on the grapevine about who is going to direct Marvel and Sony’s new solo Spider-Man film after the character gets introduced in Captain America: Civil War, they would all answer “Drew Goddard”. Hell, we said the same thing. Turns out we may have all been liars.
Deadline is reporting that Marvel and Sony have narrowed down the candidates to a list of just six names, and the words “Drew” and “Goddard” is nowhere to be found. That’s very surprising seeing as he was already quite instrumental in the Spidey movie universe for Sony before they passed the character to Marvel (he even bailed on being showrunner for Daredevil specifically so that he could work on the franchise).
What’s even more surprising though are the names that are actually on the list: Jonathan Levine (All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, 50/50, Warm Bodies), Ted Melfi (St. Vincent), Jason Moore (Pitch Perfect), John Francis Daley & Jonathan M. Goldstein (the upcoming Vacation reboot) and Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre).
That being said, this is the studio that predicted that the filmmaking brothers who had just done some Community episodes and a middling Owen Wilson comedy had it in them to give us Captain America: The Winter Soldier, arguably the best of all the Marvel movies (and now the Russo brothers are directing Spider-Man’s debut as well as having been given the reins on the biggest movie Marvel has ever done).
Something to also take into consideration is the creative direction of the movie that Marvel and Sony are angling for here. According to Deadline’s sources, Marvel’s Kevin Feige and Sony’s Amy Pascal are “planning an arc that will tell the Spidey story over three to four movies, each covering a year of high school for Peter Parker, who’ll already have been bitten by the radioactive spider so we don’t have to see that all over again. The tone they are searching for in the coming of age tale is John Hughes humor and emotion, plus all the superhero stuff.”
A heartfelt coming-of-age superhero comedy? That… Well, that actually sounds surprisingly good, to be honest. Especially for a Spider-Man movie, where those exact elements are what made the young Wall Crawler the fan-favourite character that he is today. And once you view the names on this shortlist with that approach in mind, they suddenly start making a bit more sense. Well, most of them at least.
Out of the lot, you would have to think that Jonathan Levine is the top pick, as he’s been embraced by both critics and audiences equally for his earlier movies, and even though Warm Bodies was not as successful as he may have wanted, it had some brilliantly funny character touches, good VFX and also showed that he could handle some action. Clearly nothing on the scale of what a Spider-Man movie would require, but still there’s lots of potential which would make him my choice.
As for the other guys, well Pitch Perfect was a gigantic success and, most importantly, fun, but how much of that was due to director Jason Moore, and how much was his stellar cast and 30 Rock alum Kay Cannon’s script? John Francis Daley & Jonathan M. Goldstein are very untested as directors, but early buzz for their feature film debut Vacation – which revives the old Chevy Chase led National Lampoons Vacation series – has been solid. Also they’re very well established as writers, boasting Horrible Bosses, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 to their credit.
I’ve yet to see the Golden Globe nominated St. Vincent, but most of its praise seems to be centered around a great Bill Murray performance, while writer-director Ted Melfi doesn’t get much of the buzz. And while I’m not really a fan of Napoleon Dynamite or Nacho Libre, unlike some of my colleagues around here, Jared Hess’ upcoming Masterminds actually looks pretty entertaining. If he can pull that off, then my opinion of his appropriateness for this job may just change.
The one thing all these guys have in common though, is that while they do show talent, they’re not huge names and therefore could be picked up cheaply and subsequently groomed, which appears to be Marvel’s preferred filmmaking model.
Irrespective of who will be sitting in the director’s chair, Marvel and Sony still need to pick their new Spider-Man though, and soon, as it’s only about a month away before he will be needed to film his scenes in the currently shooting Captain America: Civil War. After a shortlist of actors recently surfaced, the buzz on the web has been that Hugo and Ender’s Game star Asa Butterfield is currently the frontrunner to don the mask.
Deadline do point out though that this directors shortlist may not be totally inclusive of everybody that Marvel and Sony are looking at, so for all we know Drew Goddard may just end up getting the gig anyway and I just wrote over 800 words for nothing.
Who would be your pick to helm this movie?
Last Updated: May 7, 2015